Onana learns from Ngannou's approach

Thursday 07 March 2024 15:00

The world is eagerly awaiting the big fight between Francis Ngannou and Anthony Joshua on Friday, and Andre Onana is no different.

The Manchester United keeper is friends with his fellow Cameroonian, who was unlucky to lose on points to Tyson Fury in his last bout.

He has chatted to the MMA star, who has switched to boxing to good effect, about preparations and mindset, and is hoping the big outsider causes an upset in the ring in Riyadh.

Ngannou is a big United fan and attended our tour game in Las Vegas against Borussia Dortmund last summer.

Onana's backing for Ngannou Video

Onana's backing for Ngannou

Andre Onana is supporting his friend Francis Ngannou as he opens up on following the big fights...

"I have a good friend of mine, Francis Ngannou," Onana told us. "He is a world champion.

"They [he and AJ] will fight in Riyadh. I hope Ngannou will win. Anthony is a strong one as well but, on another day, you just have to enjoy it. The best is going to win and we are going to support all of them.

"He [Francis] is a big United fan. I met him in Las Vegas, last time, and he was happy when he heard that I was coming to Manchester United. So, for me, it’s something great."

Onana watched the heavyweight contest between Fury, another Reds supporter, and Ngannou, last October.

The Saudi Arabian scrap ended with a win for the Gypsy King on a split points decision, but the Predator cut the Briton and some felt he could have been awarded the victory by the judges.

“He did his best," said Onana. "Two big guys, they have a fight and it was very nice to watch. I enjoyed it, it was, for me, great to watch. Like I said, two different people with different mentalities but it was good to watch them because, you see, life is different, some people are different.

"It was good to look at what Tyson was doing and what Ngannou was doing. It was a big lesson.”

Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou promises to be an explosive battle in Riyadh.

When asked if he can take inspiration or advice from his friend, in terms of preparation and other elements around being a top performer in another sport, our no.24 admitted he does tap in to certain areas of expertise.

"Well, like you said, it’s difficult for me to explain because speaking about them is something good," he said. "You see how they approach it, before the combat, before the fight. Sometimes, it’s important to look at what they do because we have a different approach.

"But we are all athletes so, for me, when I speak to Ngannou, I ask him, for a big fight, how do you do it? What is your approach? He tries to tell me how he’s doing and you see, at the end of the day, everyone has their own way to do it.

The Predator is the outsider for the contest but was unlucky to lose to Tyson Fury.

"We are athletes and we all want to win so, for him, he has his own way to do it," Onana added. "I have my own way to do it but the result has to be victory at the end of the day.

"So it’s good to speak with people, and you learn from this, it is the only thing I can say about that."

Finally, we wondered whether Andre was happier to be involved in a team sport rather than an individual pursuit, such as boxing, and the challenge that must come with entering the ring in such situations.

“I’m really glad to do it because football is about the team," he smiled. "You can have great individual players but, if you don’t work as a team, you won’t win."